Lesson Plan

The Santa Fe Trail Traveling Trunk Education and Activity Guide

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Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
60 Minutes


The NPS ‘Parks as Classroom’ project brings the museum to you. Colorado’s Historic Site, Bent’s Old Fort, offers a ‘traveling trunk’ rental for a small fee. Here, you can utilize materials in the trunk to engage students to visualize and discuss life on the trail.


Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site worked with the Parks as Classrooms program to create a traveling trunk for the Santa Fe Trail.

The Bent's Old Fort NHS hosts the trunk and its use. Visit this page for contact information about lesson plans and activity guides as well as renting the trunk:



Lessons, activities, and objects are based on the cultures and lifestyles of the 1840s Santa Fe Trail people.

This trunk can be used as an exhibit, for supplemental learning in the classroom, or as a part of a special event. Use of the trunk must be fully monitored. 

Visit the park's education website: https://www.nps.gov/beol/learn/education/index.htm

For more information: 719-383-5023


Lesson Hook/Preview

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Santa Fe Trail - a 19th-century transportation route through central North America that connected Franklin, Missouri with Santa Fe, New Mexico

For vocabulary, see also: https://www.kshs.org/teachers/read_kansas/pdfs/i07lesson.pdf

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Last updated: September 19, 2017